Gillespie Primary School
Gillespie Road, Highbury, London, N5 1LH
T: 020 7226 6840 E: EMAIL US
Gillespie Primary School | Attendance and Absence
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Attendance and Absence

Promoting positive school attendance is everyone’s responsibility.


Good attendance at school is the single most important factor in ensuring that children and young people have the maximum life chances – attendance is strongly linked to educational achievement. Promoting positive school attendance is therefore everyone’s responsibility.

At Gillespie we want children to enjoy coming to school, develop a positive attitude towards school and develop goods habits of punctuality from an early age. We recognise that this can only be achieved through a close partnership with parents.

Whole school approach

We have a strong whole school approach to attendance and punctuality with clear systems in place that alert us to any deterioration in attendance or of developing patterns of absence at an early age. We believe in early intervention to prevent problems in attendance escalating and work closely with families to ensure excellent attendance and punctuality for all our children.

We monitor children’s attendance closely and intervene where it begins dropping towards 90%.  Government guidance suggests that any child with 90% attendance or below is considered to be persistently absent from school and therefore action needs to be taken e.g. meeting with parents.

What does 90% attendance mean? 90% attendance = ½ day missed every week! Over one school year this is 4 weeks of learning lost! Over the 5 years at secondary school this means missing half a year! What impact might this have on a child’s future…? 8 days absence=96%. 19 days absence = 90%


The most common reason given for children to miss school is illness, however most of the time when children are only mildly unwell they can continue to attend school. If your child attends school and is feeling under the weather, please let us know and be assured that we will contact you if things deteriorate at school.

We understand that sometimes children will have to miss school due to medical appointments e.g. doctor, hospital, dentist. Where this happens we would ask parents to maximise attendance by making early or late appointments where possible so that only a small part of a school day is lost and wherever possible, schedule appointments for after school hours and during school holidays.

Early Years

Regular attendance has a positive impact on all aspects of a young child’s learning and development. We want our youngest pupils to develop a regular routine that supports them to feel settled and secure and allows them to benefit fully from the learning opportunities available.

At Gillespie we believe that good attendance and punctuality in Early Years is just as important as in any other phase improving the outcomes for all children.

Leave of absence

The Deputy Head is the school lead for attendance.

Where parents intend to take children out of school for any reason, we ask that they request the leave 2 – 4 weeks in advance in writing through completing the ‘Application for Leave in Term Time’ form (obtained from the School Office). Any leave of absence will only be authorised in ‘exceptional’ circumstances. At Gillespie, holidays in term time are not usually considered to be ‘exceptional’ and therefore will not be authorised.


See our Attendance & Punctuality policy on the Safeguarding & Policies page.